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"Apodment" microapartment building, Capitol Hill, Seattle

A microapartment, also known as a microflat, is a one-room, self-contained living space, usually purpose built, designed to accommodate a sitting space, sleeping space, bathroom and kitchenette with 14–32 square metres (50–350 sq ft) In some cases, residents may also have access to a communal kitchen, communal bathroom/shower, patio and roof garden.


The microapartments are often designed for futons, or with pull-down beds, folding desks and tables, and extra-small or hidden appliances. Gary Chang, an architect in Hong Kong, has designed a large 32-square-metre (344 sq ft) microapartment with sliding walls attached to tracks on the ceiling. By moving the walls around, and using built-in folding furniture and worktops, he can convert the space into 24 different rooms, including a kitchen, library, laundry room, dining room, bar and video-game room.[1]

Microapartments are essentially modern versions of the British bedsit, and are becoming popular in urban centres in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and North America, maximizing profits for developers and landlords and providing relatively low-priced accommodation.[2] In Rome, where the average price of property in 2010 was $7,800 per square metre (10.7 square feet), microapartments as small as 4 square metres (45 square feet) have been advertised.[3]

In Hong Kong, developers are embracing the micro-living trend, renting microapartments at sky-high prices. The Wall Street Journal compares the 180-square-feet flat in High Place, Sai Ying Pun to the size of a U.S. parking spot (160 square feet) in a video, highlighting the soaring property prices in Hong Kong (one of the apartments in High Place was sold for more than US$500,000 in June 2015).[4]

There has been a backlash in some cities against the increasing number of these developments. In Seattle, residents have complained that high-density microhousing changes the character of neighbourhoods, suddenly increasing demand for parking spaces and other amenities.[5]

In January 2013, New York City got its first microapartment[6] building, with 55 units that are as small as 250 square feet (23 m2)[7] and ceilings from nine to ten feet (2.7 to 3.0 m).

Boston's first microapartment building opened in August 2016, at 1047 Commonwealth Avenue in Packard's Corner. As the largest microapartment building in the United States, the building is currently being leased by Boston University to house 341 students during the renovation of another university residence. The building contains 180 units that each contain a bathroom with stand-up shower; a kitchen with all stainless-steel appliances that include an oven, a microwave, a dishwasher, and a refrigerator. Each unit also includes a stand up washer-dryer unit. Other amenities include an optional parking garage and indoor bike room in the basement, currently unused retail space, a lounge space, a rooftop penthouse, a deck overlooking the Allston neighbors, and an entertainment room that will be converted to a fitness center at the end of the University's tenure at the property, which is anticipated to be in 2018.

As of 2017, the largest microapartment building in the world is The Collective Old Oak,[8] which opened in London on May 1, 2016.[9] Designed by PLP Architecture, the development has 546 rooms with most units grouped into "twodios" – two en-suite bedrooms that share a small kitchenette. There are also some private suites. The units sizes range from 9.2 square metres (99 sq ft) for an ensuite rooms with a 5.8 square metres (62 sq ft) shared kitchenette, to 12 square metres (130 sq ft) for a shared ensuite and 16.5 square metres (178 sq ft) shared ensuite with kitchenette.[10] Each floor features one larger kitchen with a dining table, which is shared between 30 and 70 residents, and themed communal living spaces such as a games room, a cinema, a 'disco-launderette', a hidden garden and a spa. A restaurant, gym and co-working spaces are located in the lower floors of the building.

First micro-apartments emerged in Ukraine in 2015. Loft House Podol - multi-flat micro-apartments at Podol district in the building constructed in the 80-th. The concept of the project was developed based in accord with the mini-loft principle. It provides apartments with comfortable lay outs and ready-made design solutions. The size of the apartments varies from 11 to 35 sq.m.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Virginia Gardiner, "24 Rooms Tucked Into One", The New York Times, 14 January 2009.
  2. ^ Les Christie, "Micro-apartments: The anti-McMansions", CNN Money, 21 June 2013.
  3. ^ Michael Day, "Tight fit for Rome's 'micro-apartments'", The Independent, 28 February 2012.
  4. ^ Steger, Isabella (2 June 2015). "In Hong Kong, the Apartments Are Fit for a Mosquito". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. Retrieved 21 June 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Hickman, Matt. "Micro-apartments met with NIMBYist sentiment in Seattle", Mother Nature Network, 8 May 2013.
  6. ^ Allen, Jonathan (10 July 2012). "New York City "micro" apartments aim to be cosy, not cramped". Reuters. 
  7. ^ Carmiel, Oshrat (22 January 2013). "Manhattan to Get First 'Micro-Unit' Apartment Building". Bloomberg News. 
  8. ^ Mairs, Jessica. "World's largest co-living complex promises residents "everything at their fingertips"". Dezeen. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Inside London’s Largest Co-Living Development". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Co-Living FAQ". The Collective. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 

Further reading[edit]